Conservative Party Conference 2017 - The burning injustice of mental health care

In October 2017 I spoke about the burning injustice of mental health care and treatment and how only the Conservative Party has the the strategy to deal with it.

You can read the full text of the speech below:



3 October 2017

My name is Ben Spencer, and I am an NHS junior doctor specialising in mental health, I’m a psychiatrist. Today, I would like to speak to you about mental health.

Inequality between mental and physical health care has been a burning injustice in our society for decades. Even today – suicide remains the number one killer of men under the age of 45; if you are a woman it is a major cause of death if you are pregnant or have just given birth.

When I stood in the general election this year, I was often asked on the doorstep – ‘How can you be a doctor, a psychiatrist, and also be a Conservative?’

Would you like to hear my answer?

Our Party, the Conservative Party, is built on fairness and equality of opportunity. Our Party, is the party for everyone. We have always sought to tackle the inequalities in our society head on. It is this commitment to fairness and equality of opportunity that means we have both the vision and the strategy to make real change in mental health.

People don’t give us enough credit for all that we are doing in mental health – such as:

  • Expanding mental health services in hospitals, so if you are having a mental health crisis there is always a psychiatrist or specialist nurse who can see you 24/7.


  • Developing better ways of supporting people back into work when they are on their road to recovery, especially those with more severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.


Mental illness doesn’t discriminate between who it will affect. But we Conservatives will tackle social and health injustices in our society wherever they are to be found. That’s why I believe we need to bring mental health into the open, to make it everyone’s business, not left to fester in the darkness, leading to stigma, isolation, and misery.

We Conservatives are determined that no one should ever have to suffer alone – or be denied the treatment they need. We will strive to ensure mental health is given the same priority as physical health. But this will be no easy task; tackling mental health and the stigma of mental illness will be one of the most difficult things a government has had to do.

So, in answer to the question I started with – Why am I a conservative?

Because Conservatives never shy away from a challenge, and will always do what’s right for the good of our great nation. For all our prosperity, that means addressing mental health.